Tschick [Goodbye Berlin] (2016)

Tschick
Director: Fatih Akin
Writer: Lars Hubrich, Fatih Akin, Hark Bohm
Based on: Wolfgang Herrndorf’s novel
Cast: Tristan Göbel, Anand BatbilegMercedes Müller, Aniya Wendel, Anja Schneider, Uwe Bohm, Udo Samel, Xenia Assenza
Seen on: 12.10.2016

Plot:
14 year old Maik (Tristan Göbel) is one of those kids who don’t really register and when he does, he’s perceived as weird. His class mate Tschick (Anand Batbileg) on the other hand registers everywhere, despite – or maybe because – rarely showing up in school, and when he does, he’s often drunk. When Maik and Tschick are the only people not invited to the birthday party of popular girl Tanja (Aniya Wendel), Tschick kind of adopts Maik. And even though Maik is uncomfortable at first, when Tschick shows up with an old car and invites Maik to go on an adventure, Maik doesn’t have to think long about the empty summer ahead of him to agree to go along.

Tschick sticks close to the novel it’s based on for the most part which works nicely but also, unfortunately, means that some of the book’s weaknesses are also carried over to the film. I did enjoy it, but I didn’t love it.

As a film adaptation of a novel is bound to do, some of the novel had to be cut to fit the film. I probably would have cut things a little differently, but altogether it was well done and works nicely. It was only the changed ending that bothered me a bit – I wouldn’t have minded the inclusion of actual consequences into the film. And I would have definitely cut the “Schwuchteln” (“faggots”), “Mongos” (abbreviation for “mongoloid”, an ableist slur for people with Down Syndrome) – at least as far as possible, considering that teens actually talk like that – and the fatphobic hippo that makes a late and unwelcome appearance in the movie as well.

I also still have my problems with the revelation that Tschick is gay. A sexual orientation shouldn’t be a plot twist (if you assume that everyone is straight until you get an explicit statement otherwise and are then surprised by that statement, it simply shows your own heteronormativity) and I would have wished that the story had addressed it a little more than just a throwaway sentence. But his homosexuality was little more than lip service in the novel already, so why would it be different here.

Be that as it may, Tschick does tell a nice coming-of-age story, especially for boys. And both Göbel and Batbileg give great performances – always particularly remarkable when actors are as young as they are. Akin paces the story well and the cinematography is beautiful to behold.

The soundtrack tries a little too hard to be young and hip in my opinion. But overall, Tschick is a well-made, fun and sweet film that takes you on an enjoyable drive through Germany and will probably leave you with a smile on your face.

Summarizing: Nice.

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